About Knutson & Associates

Sharon Knutson | Principal Broker

Sharon Knutson grew up on the beautiful Hawaiian Island of Maui, consistently around the warm feelings of Aloha, locals provide in the islands. Being a firm believer of Aloha, she has integrated this philosophy into Knutson & Associates.


Sharon attended the University of Hawaii, focusing on Accounting and Finance. She was first licensed at the age of eighteen on the Hawaiian island of Oahu. Her career in real estate started with commercial sales in Downtown Honolulu.

Sharon is a third generation Realtor in her family owned business. Sharon was the Broker in Charge of Knutson & Associates for many years, all while raising 3 kids, and 2 dogs. Family is very important to Sharon; This reflects in the relationships she has with her clients. Values like trust and honesty are the foundation aspects, Knutson & Associates thrive on. Sharon emphasizes that at Knutson & Associates, we speak Aloha!


Sharon Knutson, PB License# R(B)-18518

Knutson & Associates


Office: (808) 329-1010

Blake Kessner | Broker In Charge

Blake Kessner is the Broker in Charge at Knutson & Associates, who is also son of Sharon Knutson, current Principle Broker & Owner of Knutson & Associates. He is the grandson to Marilyn Knutson, founder of the company.


Blake was born and raised right here in Kona, Hawaii. After graduating high school, he left the island to go to Seattle, Washington. He attended the University of Washington & graduated with a bachelors in Business Management.


All while attending college, Blake worked his way up the corporate ladder in Hotel Management, for major brands such as Marriott & Hilton. His specialty was in operations, where he held division head roles. He has in depth experience overseeing operations of Front Office, Valet Parking, Security, Accounting & Finance, & Housekeeping.


Blake moved back to the Big Island of Hawaii to pursue Real Estate Sales & Property Management for Vacation Rental & Long Term Properties. He is a fourth generation Realtor in a family owned business. He specializes with investment clients & first time home buyers. Blake always gives his clients his 110%. He believes in strong communication throughout the transaction, always keeping people well informed. Standing apart the rest is important to Blake..He has numerous designations & certifications in the Real Estate Industy, empowering him to be a invaluable resource to his clients. 

 He understands & advocates that being detail oriented is crucially important in this industry. With the market constantly evolving, he pays close attention to how changes will not only affect our Real Estate firms, but our clients as well.

​With a strong passion to always strive for the best in all areas of his life, Blake continues to create new goals for himself. He is a fitness enthusiast who has a passionate interest in weight lifting, running, soccer & dance.







Blake Kessner, BIC License# R(B)-22317, SRS, ABR, RSPS, PSA, RENE

Knutson & Associates


Office: (808) 329-1010

Cell: (808) 987-9295

Jenae Patterson | REALTOR® Salesperson and Head Property Manager

Jenae Patterson was born and raised in Kailua, on the island of Oahu.  She lived in Kailua-Kona on the Big Island of Hawaii for around 2 years while attending school and has been a frequent visitor of the island since day one.  After graduating high school she moved to Seattle, Washington to pursue job opportunities, further education, and to diversify her knowledge of culture within the nation.  She resided there for around 5 years before making the decision to move back to Hawaii.


Jenae very much enjoys expanding her knowledge of the world and traveling.  She has visited five different countries before the age of 18 and has been to Europe twice.  She desires to travel more in the future but is currently focusing on her career.  Her other hobbies/interests include playing guitar, art, physics, and engineering.


When moving back to the Big Island she decided to make a change in careers to move towards accounting.  With a background in restaurant management she possesses excellent communication and organization skills.  She has an enthusiasm for numbers and mathematics which made her a keen fit for an accounting role.  Originally hired as the accountant for Knutson and Associates she acquired her real estate license to pursue Sales and Property Management.  With her knowledge of the rental market and property management accounting she is a perfect fit for investment buyers. 


Jenae has an exemplary eye for detail and takes a large amount of pride in her work, she always strives to deliver the best service possible for her clients.  She is interested in all parts of Real Estate including residential, land, and commercial.  With an unquenchable thirst for knowledge she is always educating herself on developments within the Real Estate industry to best serve her clients.

Jenae Patterson has been an incredible asset to Knutson and Associates, as well as being an all-around good hearted person.  She would be an excellent choice for representation who you would be able to trust in to look out for your best interests.


Jenae Patterson, R(S) License #76980

Knutson & Associates


Office: (808) 329-1010

Cell: (808) 221-3119


Kyle Nishiyama | REALTOR® Salesperson

Kyle Nishiyama has spent 10 years living in Hawaii studying his family's history and falling in love with Polynesian Culture. Through extensive inner-island travel and exploration Kyle embodies the true sense of Aloha. With a widely successful career in Hospitality Management in Hawaii, Kyle's devotion to client satisfaction is second to none. "My only goal is to embrace every person I meet and leave a lasting impression. "​


Kyle Nishiyama, R(S) License #81599

Knutson & Associates


Office: (​808) 329-1010

Cell: (808) 725-1574

Joanne Maltezo | REALTOR® Salesperson

Joanne Maltezo​ represents North/South Kona & South Kohala. Her 17 years in the hospitality industry brings her the discipline and knowledge in providing excellent customer service, attention to detail, & patience. Her outgoing personality keeps her clients comfortable. She's a excellent match for finding the perfect dream home for her clients.


Raised on the Big Island of Hawaii, Joanne knows everything there is to know about her locations.


She loves meeting people every day and will work tirelessly for your best interest.


While not assisting clients, she spends her time with her lovely teenage daughter traveling, cooking and enjoying her friends.



Joanne Maltezo, R(S) License #80449

Knutson & Associates


Office: (808) 329-1010

Cell: (808) 756-8525

Jim Cotter | REALTOR® Salesperson

Jim Cotter arrived in Kona in 1974 after graduating from Harvard.  He entered the real estate profession in 1975, added an electrician's license in 1981, and an ocean operator's license several years later.  After owning and operating his own charter boat business for a decade in Kaneohe Bay, he returned to the Big Island to lead a team of electricians in construction of the Gemini 8M telescope at the summit of Mauna Kea.  As a proud associate at Knutson & Associates, he continues to enjoy the diversity and adventure of real estate transactions.



 Jim Cotter, R(S) License #65270

Knutson & Associates


Office: (808) 329-1010

Cell: (808) 345-7786

Lisa Folden | REALTOR® Salesperson

A Long time resident of the Big Island, Lisa has been a Real Estate professional for 13 years. Within that time she has worked with investors as well as local families buying and selling their properties. Lisa understands the Hawaiian culture and will guide you though the process with Aloha.


Lisa is known for her extensive market knowledge and her unmatched devotion to clients. Her success is based almost exclusively on positive referrals. She earns the respect of her customers by working tirelessly on their behalf and by always offering them candid advice. 


In her spare time Lisa is an active Rotarian and currently the President of her Kona Mauka club. She has served on many boards in the community and was a Director for 2 years with West Hawaii Association of Realtors. Lisa recently was given the coveted award for #1 Realtor by West Hawaii Today.  



Lisa Folden, R(S) License #70711

Knutson & Associates


Cell: (808) 987-4444

Ashley Gonsalves | Asst. to Broker in Charge

Ashley Gonsalves is born and raised in Sonoma County California, moving to the Big Island In 2011, she was intrigued by the agriculture and opportunity the rural Island offered. After receiving her license in Cosmetology in California, Ashley was ready to experience another way of living at the young age of 21. She moved to an off-grid farm in the heart of South Kona and began learning to live off the land. She began planting gardens, learning of Aquaponics and exploring exotic Fruits she starting a small agriculture business selling local fruits at farmers markets which became her passion for the next five years. She dedicated her time to the land and fell in love with Hawaii. And what she thought was going to just be a vacation turned into her place to call home. The opportunity for plants to grow year-round and to be in warm weather with the ocean always close by, was her new-found passion. Ashley Joined our team in 2017 when she decided to take her passion for Hawaii to another level and begin to share her love with the land in another way, she decided real estate would be a good outlet for help her to assist others in finding their place on the Island. Her experience with rural land and plants makes her excited to work with the sales in that area in the future. She will be working towards receiving her real estate license in 2018 and plans to help in the sales of forever homes and agriculture land in the hopes of helping others find their love for Hawaii.


Ashley Gonsalves

Knutson & Associates


Office: (​808) 329-1010

​Cell: (707) 494-9546

Mervlyn Simmons | Asst. Property Manager, Maintenance

Born and raised right here on the Big Island in the wonderful city of Kailua Kona, I am 29 years old and I am a proud parent of three wonderful keikis, who are my motivations each and every day . I Absolutely love going to the beach with my Ohana, my hobbies include, fishing, camping, spending time with my Ohana, and playing volleyball. I received a full scholarship for volleyball after I graduated high school in 2008, I attended Sheridan College in Sheridan Wyoming. I completed 1 year and decided to move back home, I am currently studying to receive my bachelors degree in Science of Business from University of Phoenix. Throughout my career I have gained experiences in retail, teller clerk, member service specialist, call center representative, commercial waste sales, accounting, and Health care sales, expressing customer service in all that I do is my main goal. Being apart of Knutson & Associates has/is such an honor, my passion and drive to always strive for more will be the key to a long successful career growth with such a wonderful family owned company. I plan to obtain my real estate license in 2020. I look forward to helping out my Kona community in the near future.


Mervlyn Simmons

Knutson & Associates


Office: (​808) 445-9363

Cell: (808) 796-2095 

Ilana Maxwell| Property Manager, Reservations & Sales Agent

My professional work experience began at the US Embassy in Buenos Aires when I was in high school with various office positions over school breaks. Upon moving to Hawaii, my first jobs were in retail and after some additional training, I continued in office- work with a focus in Escrow and Real Estate. After time as an assistant for Realtors and Escrow officers, I became a licensed Realtor and have done that since. In addition to that, I have done some work in the retail, social service, and the world of non-profits, focusing on vocational and professional mentorship for youth and adults. My shift away from Real Estate took me into freelance writing and photography, adding credits to my college degree, working at a thriving kayak and surf business to obtaining my certification as a Doula. The past few years have been focused on building and running a new business  


Ilana Maxwell

Knutson & Associates


Office: (​808) 731-8614

Cell: (808) 938-4139

Stephanie Kessner  | Assistant Property Manager, Accounting

With a degree in Paralegal work, her attention to detail is second to none. Stephanie worked with several attorneys in the law field before moving over to her families company, Knutson & Associates. She's excited to use her legal skills in the Real Estate Industry. 


Stephanie Kessner

Knutson & Associates


Office: (​808) 825-5898